New research almost shows it Three out of four buyers They find no value in at least half of the thought leadership they consume. However, from the same research sample, nearly half was purchased from an unknown company due to its intellectual leadership.
This difference raises significant questions and risks about what distinguishes mid-level from well-thought-out leadership. In my experience, the answer boils down to five characteristics. Here’s what they are and how you can use them to elevate your results.
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1. Teach, do not sell
Think about who you trust. Does this person want to see your life improve without getting anything in return? Or is this individual claiming compensation before investing in your growth?
The most trustworthy brands educate their audience without expecting to make a profit right away. They serve the role of professor rather than salesperson. While the salesperson offers value for money, the teacher only asks for participation and application.
The former often sees better results than the latter. In B2B, where customers spend up to six months Almost in the journey of buying and switching sellers every five years patience and a systematic approach are much more effective than a short-term focus.
This doesn’t mean that your content shouldn’t be sold – it should. But it is a matter of timing. Prospects seek thought leadership for learning. This happens in the early stages of the buying journey (aka the ‘top of the funnel’) when they are not fully aware of their problem or the solutions available to them.
To educate your audience:
1. Meet your customers at point A. To do this, use the voice of customer data, lessons learned, and external research to build a buyer persona for your audience. This persona should include the attributes that are important to your business and specify at a minimum:
- Failed solutions
- decision barriers
2. Provide content that takes them from point A to point B. Once you define your buyer persona(s), you understand who your potential customer is and where they stand. You can then develop thought leadership that meets them at point A and takes them to point B.
Point A may be creating awareness of the possibility of their problem—or perhaps providing the solution.
Related Topics: Buyer Personas: What They Are, Why They Are Important, and the Best Way to Build One
2. Take a stand
Would you trust a person who is nothing, who is reluctant to take sides on an issue? Or the one whose perspective remains firm, clear, and uncompromising?
Trust calls for consistency and reliability. And by credibility, I mean knowing that someone believes (and will continue to believe) something. By creating your belief system, communicating it to your expectations and sticking to it through action, you give your customers a foothold to trust you.
If their perspective aligns with yours, they will. If it doesn’t, they will move on.
Taking a stand creates a two-way decision, which is incredibly valuable to your business. You no longer waste time on potential clients who stay around because they don’t fully understand you yet. Instead, you focus your scarce resources—time, talent, and capital—on potential customers who buy into your philosophy, and who are more likely to close and renew.
to take a stand:
- be provocative. Your business exists to challenge the status quo. Embrace this role. Talk about the danger of inertia and why alternative solutions are not enough.
- body your logic. Clearly convey not only what you believe in, but why you believe it. Give your expectations the full context of your situation.
- Rely on your research. Return claims with support to prove the credibility of your viewpoint and experience.
Related: 11 ways to build thought leadership with your personal brand
3. Return your claims
Experts do not give their opinions. They offer ingrained perspectives Research data and proven experience. As a result, they gain confidence through authority.
what a total 80% of potential customers Require brands to verify their thought leadership with the support of credible third parties. Given the amount of content produced every day, it’s no surprise that they feel this way. Trust calls for more than your word but in the voice of many.
To support your content with a search:
- Cite your sources. Where appropriate, link to your own independent research. You can also explicitly cite your source, but only do so for organizations that are widely known (eg, “A study from Gartner found…”).
- Vary the search type and source. Include both independent research and empirical evidence, such as customer case studies or internal data. Also, rely on multiple sources, not just one source for an entire content article.
- Make it stand out. For digital data, make it easy for your readers to discover and assimilate. Use callouts to highlight data points and objective data.
4. Tell a story
The story captures emotion, the biggest motivator of all.
Storytelling also influences behavior through appropriation The full attention of the fans getting them to think of new perspectives and helping them make sense of complex information.
But unlike Hollywood movies, your story should put a prospect in the shoes of the hero, and you are the guide who will help them on their journey. Doing so will put you in the role of a trusted advisor, personify your work, and make it transparent and compliant — all beneficial conditions for fostering trust.
To harness the power of story:
- Building a transformation journey. Use customer case studies and anecdotes to give potential clients insight into the journey they can expect before, during, and after adopting your solution.
- Incorporate your founder’s story. Give background on why your business exists and its heroic quest to become the best-equipped partner to help a potential client reach the state they want.
- portends the future. Build excitement by describing the potential of your prospects and the larger industry with full adoption of your solution.
Related Topics: The Value of Building Intellectual Leadership
5. Stay up-to-date
Potential customers want to buy from forward-looking organizations that are not satisfied with the current success. Complacency is a sign of atrophic business, and it is unlikely to remain a great partner for an average of five years of a B2B vendor contract, which we alluded to earlier.
As technology becomes more embedded in our lives and changes at an accelerating rate, companies must actively push to stay ahead of the curve. This means staying abreast of the latest industry results and constantly adapting to signals that require a shift in your perspective.
To stay ahead:
- Engage in social listening. What do you hear from your prospects about the transformation journey? What do you learn from your competitors, what do they say and do, and how do they interact with your prospects?
- Keep tabs on credible third parties. Update support for your point of view with recent research from independent parties. Avoid citing old findings that question your awareness and involvement in the field.
Put the “leader” in thought leadership
By utilizing these five characteristics of effective thought leadership, you create the conditions to separate yourself from competitors.
You can attract the attention of skeptics, gain their trust and confidence and win.
But only if you see thought leadership through the lens of your readers and what they really value: a necessary transformation, as efficiently and effectively as possible — so help them. Immerse yourself in your content with these five characteristics, and see the difference they make.
VRAshwa is a leading virtual reality rental company that specializes in providing VR equipment and services to businesses and individuals. Their VR rental services include a wide range of VR headsets and accessories, including the Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, and HTC Vive. They also offer a variety of VR software, such as games and educational apps, to ensure that customers have a wide range of options to choose from.